The art works of Cui Xiuwen, Cindy Sherman, and Frida Kahlo are relatively similar in that they depict female subjects in an aesthetic setting that helps contribute to the piece. They are very different in that the mood is very different. The artist may intentionally convey a feeling that is obvious to the viewer, but in most cases and especially in Sherman's and Xiuwen's works the meanings are convaluted.
Cui Xiuwen's works are atmospheric. The lush blue sky and Asian architecture dominates the scenery. A young girl is often place in the foreground performing various poses and expressing a silent emotion. The artist uses the same girl in all of her pictures, sometimes she is duplicated. The girl is the central focus despite the strong background. The artist doesn't want to portray an universal expression but one that is singular and more personal. The girl is usually wearing white which creates a pure feeling, an angelic mood. Her graceful movements suggest innocence. She seems to be indirectly reacting to her environment, feeling slighty overwhelmed. However, most of the time she just seems placed into this digitally enhanced background. In this case, it is more about self thought, trying to evoke strong emotion where the background could add, take away, or just serve as a background.
The works of Cindy Sherman are feminist. She tries to capture the stereotypes of females in the work place and popular culture. She started with film stills in which she participated in. Sherman's photos depict a soft drama which is all the more interesting because we know they are not real. Sherman was credited as an exceptional actress as well as a photogrpaher. Her earlier photos are mostly black and white but we don't lose a sense of the picture. Displaying femininity allowed Sherman to find a form of her own sensibility, and her works were often groundbreaking for the culture at that time.
Frida Kahlo suffered throughout her life and her works clearly depict that. Her portraits were her most successful mean of expression. When compared to her other works, they reveal very little difference in pose and mood. Her facial expression is often unchanged and consists of a fixated look of hidden sadness. The backgrounds often contains teardrops, thorns, or arterial rib ribbons to symbolize a psychological grief. Her portraits also make references to Mexican culture and religious icons.